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WildnessRelations of People and Place$
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Gavin Van Horn and John Hausdoerffer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226444666

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226444970.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 May 2022

On the Wild Edge in Iceland

On the Wild Edge in Iceland

(p.205) 21 On the Wild Edge in Iceland

Brooke Hecht

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores what happens when we look at the concept of wildness through the lens of ecosystem ecology, sharing the author’s journey through three woodland sites at the forest limit in Iceland. The forest limit (or treeline) is a place that might span a few steps, a place where you could throw a small stone through an ecological doorway—with you standing in forest, the stone landing in tundra. These mysterious threshold zones hold clues to what makes a forest a forest, and what causes a forest to reach a breaking point and give way to tundra. How might we understand ecosystem loss—or ecosystem resilience—if we look to the landscape itself to tell us its stories? This chapter explores one way of reading landscapes, which, in turn, may help us pull back from ecological breaking points we now face.

Keywords:   ecosystem ecology, ecosystem resilience, Iceland, treeline, forest limit, threshold zone

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